Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Aftermath

Yesterday, Betty Lee Kelly of Wild Horse Spirit, Ltd. visited BLMs Palomino Valley wild horse and burro holding facility in Northern Nevada due to an outbreak of salmonella that has claimed at least 130 wild horses since the outbreak began.

Conversations with John Neill, Palomino Valley’s Center Manager, revealed little about the latest crisis wild horses are facing, preferring instead to refer any questions to Nevada Wild Horse & Burro Lead, Susie Stokke who was unavailable for comment.

The facility is currently holding 1,350 wild horses of which 850 are estimated as remaining from the Jackson Mountain Herd Management Area removals. Official reports for the Jackson Mountain HMA stated 990 wild horses were removed between 8/28/07 and 9/14/07 with six being destroyed and one fatality.

Symptoms included diarrhea and death but when questioned about the number of wild horses that might be affected, Neill’s only reply was “cultures have been taken on several horses”.

Despite their current condition, it is unknown if wild horses may still be shipped to other facilities such as the Carson Prison or “elsewhere”.

Cattoor Livestock Roundups was the contractor used for the Jackson Mountain wild horse removals and questions about Cattoor’s trailers being sanitized since discovering the Salmonella outbreak were also met with uncertainty.

On viewing the corrals, it was noted that a high proportion of foals and very young horses were completely alone. When questioned where their mothers were, Neill’s only reply was, “Some were not able to be connected back up to their mothers.” Many of these foals appeared to be four months or under and there’s additional concern that many of them may be too young to survive on their own.

The following photos were taken yesterday at the Palomino Valley facility around 11:00 a.m. BLM staff was still in the process of cleaning up and pictured here is a foal that had expired only moments before the forklift came to “dispose” of the body.

An extremely weak foal - will she make it?

The Mares of "J"

A great big special thanks goes out to Wild Horse Spirit, Ltd. for sharing these pictures with all of us and for trying to get answers on what is really happening at the BLM Palomino Valley Holding Facility and this newest tragedy for America's wild horses.

For questions contact:

Susie Stokke Nevada Wild Horse & Burro Lead Phone: 1-775-861-7469

Friday, September 28, 2007

SOP-Standard Operating Perils

The BLM Palomino Valley Holding Facilities in Northern Nevada announced a thirty-day closure after 130 wild horses from the Jackson Mountain Herd Managment Area removal operations conducted earlier this month have died due to what officials are saying is salmonella bacteria. (1)

Salmonella is not uncommon in horses and they may carry the bacteria in their digestive track without becoming ill. However, when horses are in weakened conditions or are very young or old, they are more susceptible to succumbing to its effects.

Dr. Al Kane, veterinarian for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, stated that many were extremely weak from lack of food and water due to drought conditions and their weakened condition made them more susceptible to the bacteria.

There are further speculations as to why the Jackson Mountain wild horses have been hit so hard, which vary from contaminated water troughs, BLMs long disputed exclusive diet of overly rich alfalfa fed to wild horses and burros coming straight off the range, as well as the stress of being driven by helicopters during capture operations.

The BLM has no established limits on the distances wild horses and burros may be driven and there was significant public protest about this issue to BLM during Nevada's annual hearing on May 16, 2007 regarding the use of helicopters and motorized vehicles to capture wild horses but public concerns were ignored.

After conducting a thorough review of their Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), which lasted less than an hour, BLM responded to the variety of public concerns that everything they do is safe, humane and appropriate.

American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign rebutted BLMs "in depth" review by stating; "BLM conveniently omits injury statistics and is able to issue such low mortality rates because almost no deaths are deemed by officials a "result" of the removal operations. Many injuries/deaths sustained during round-ups are conveniently attributed to natural causes. Reports of horses that later have to be euthanized due to injuries sustained during capture are common."

Wild horses have often suffered outbreaks of strangles, a highly infections and serious respiratory disease that can kick in after being severely stressed, such as being driven for miles during helicopter captures.

In early 2006, forty-six horses died of strangles in BLM corrals located in Susanville, CA followed by a major outbreak of strangles in the Palomino Valley facilities in the fall and the Animal Welfare Institute stated in their recent book, Managing for Extinction that, "During the past two years practically every BLM facility has experienced similar disease outbreaks. Leading to the confirmed deaths of scores of animals...." (2)

The Jackson Mountain wild horse capture plans stated it was extremely rugged mountain terrain, maps showed wild horses would be driven through at least 17 different streams during the removal operations and public pleas that limits be set on the distances the Jackson Mountain wild horses would be run were never addressed. (3)

Jackson Mountain Wild Horse Capture Plan

In July of 2007, a long list of questions regarding BLMs vague and undefined "policies" regarding wild horse and burro captures were submitted to the National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board with a personal copy sent to the representative for Veterinarian Medicine, Dr. Boyd Spratling of Nevada, which included:

* What studies have been done on the physical effects of driving wild horses and burros by helicopters?

*What is the absolute limits in terms of distance that wild horses and burros can be driven before physical damage begins?

*What are the temperature limits that should be followed? For example, running wild horses and burros at freezing temperatures? During extreme heat?

Wendy Krebs, Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine of Bend Equine Medical Center in Oregon reported foals from the June 2006 Sheldon roundups were found "lame due to excessive wear of their hooves, limb swelling and injuries and elevated muscle enzymes consistent with severe over-exertion" (4)

Captured Foal During Zeroed Out Silver Peak Removals - September 2006

Almost 900 wild horses were captured in Wyoming this past January during temperatures so cold that the military was airlifting food for livestock into Colorado and 178 wild horses at the Nevada Wild Horse Range were driven during triple digit temperatures that were tying Nevada record highs.

To date, no attempt has been made to address the potentially fatal results of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) BLM employs during capture operations or the health conditions that often result. Why should they? There is no one they must answer to anymore.

The Jackson Mountain wild horses join a long list of other "non-capture related" fatalities, merely classified as a result of natural causes due to BLMs vague and undefined SOPs - Standard Operating Perils.


-Photo of Facility Closure Sign provided by Wild Horse Spirit, Ltd.
-Photo of Capture Plan Map taken from May 2007 Jackson Mountain Wild Horse Gather Plan, Preliminary Environmental Assessment, NV-020-07-EA-10, page 45.
-Photo of electrolytes being supplied to young foal during the September removals of the now zeroed out Silver Peak HMA from the May 2007 Roberts Mountain Complex Wild Horse Gather Preliminary EA, NV062-EA07-120, Appendix A, page 52.

(1) BLM Closes Corral After Horse Deaths
(2) “Managing for Extinction”, Animal Welfare Institute, page 16, available at
(3) Department of the Interior, BLM, Winnemucca Field Office, Jackson Mountain HMA, Wild Horse Gather Plan, August 2007,EA # NV-020-07-EA-10.
(4) American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, - Reality Of Round Ups, Attempt at a Cover Up, Sheldon 2006

Thursday, September 27, 2007


A prominent horse advocate has experienced a recent deep loss.
The following is dedicated to her and her loved ones.


The inky darkness before the dawn
She drifted closer, then all was gone
Breath that livened, now withdrawn
Empty silence engulfed her song

Though sun rises, no rays can shine
The absence of love once called mine
Exquisite presence bright or sublime
Voids never healed by space or time

The suffering ended, yet just begun
The lessons learned, the battles won
The intentions finished, finally done
Time's now up - the race was run

As she drifted closer to heavens gate
A pale steed did patiently wait
To lift her up and rejuvenate
On golden hooves towards a better fate

Earthly burdens now released
Both victims of the rising Beast
Though our own battles will not cease
Loved ones finally rest in peace

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The American Wild Horse

Is a new documentary by filmmaker James Kleinert of Moving Cloud Productions scheduled to screen on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 in the LBJ Room on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. for both Senators and Representatives.

The American Wild Horse examines the politics behind the Bureau of Land Management’s controversial policies regarding wild horses on public lands and questions the fate of America’s wild horses. Through interviews with scientific experts, ranchers, historians, wild horse owners, animal rights activist, and others, the film looks at the origins and effects of the recent “Burns Bill” which gutted the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971 and cleared the way for the slaughter and removal of a vast majority of these symbols of the American West.

The film explores who benefits and who pays the price for the different bills currently under consideration, including pending legislation that would permanently block the Burns Bill, H.R. 249, and H.R. 503 and S.311, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act.

Filming locations included a recent round up conducted by BLM in Disappointment Valley, Colorado of the Spring Creek wild horses. David Glynn was on location August 30th and provides a detailed daily account of his experiences before, during and after the wild horses were removed.

One of the most revealing aspects of his narrative include interviews with Dave and Sue Cattoor, operators of Cattoor Livestock Roundups, Inc., one of only two outfits BLM consistently contracts for wild horse removals via helicopters as well as often being contracted for other government agencies such as National Park Service and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Cattoors operations have often faced controversy, which have included the disastrous June 2006 wild horse removals conducted in the Sheldon Hart National Wildlife Refuge that American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign posted extensive photo documentation of (Reality of Roundups – Attempt at a Cover Up) as well as pleading guilty and serving probation for inappropriate use of an aircraft to capture wild horses in the 90’s.

David Glynn’s interviews with the Cattoors stated “they are strong advocates of killing, in their words “a humane way to dispose of excess horses,” and support the Burns Amendment.”

Cattoor Livestock Roundups, Inc. were referenced throughout the newest Draft Management Plans recently released by U.S. Fish & Wildlife for the Sheldon wild horses and burros and it appears they will probably contracted to remove wild horses within the Refuge again. The Cattoors were also the sole source of the financial data that projected helicopter round ups were more cost effective than any other capture methods.

Wonder how they came up with that conclusion?

Wishing James and The American Wild Horse’s debut the very best and praying our elected officials will finally be moved to action on repealing the Burns Bill and enacting The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act.

The American Wild Horse – by James Kleinert
To read the full account of David Glynns - Ten Days in Disappointment Valley
To view the photos of the Sheldon wild horse removals by Cattoor Livestock Roundups, Inc. - Reality of Round Ups, Attempt at a Cover Up

Monday, September 24, 2007

The 700 Club

Sheldon Wild Horses
In May 2007, the Sheldon Hart National Wildlife Refuge located in Northern Nevada estimated that 1,500 wild horses were roaming the Refuge.

The May assessment reported severe overpopulation was destroying fragile ecosystems, threatening wildlife, creating hazards to motorists, and their sheer numbers had created a crisis of epic proportions that demanded immediate resolution through the removal of hundreds of wild horses.

Then came the lawsuit filed by In Defense of Animals against U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service that was based on the Services failure to provide any current information, pertinent scientific data, accurate reports, follow established laws, procedures, or to consider any reasonable alternatives within their “management plans”.

The Service presented one option and one option only – the wild horses and burros must be removed to dangerously low numbers before they completed any serious environmental evaluations in their development of the new management plan currently being drafted.

This is not the first time U.S. Fish & Wildlife has been sued for these very same violations and courts have remanded them before for attempting to pass off unsupported and unsubstantiated opinions as legitimate science.

After the lawsuit was filed, a new population census was done and low and behold, it is now believed that merely 800 wild horses and 90 burros inhabit the Refuge – a loss of 700 wild horses.

The Service theorizes that the 700 wild horses migrated outside Refuge boundaries over the winter and due to the completion of long over due fence maintenance, were unable to migrate back during the spring. If this theory is correct, the Service states that these horses will now be managed by BLM under the Wild Free Roaming Horse & Burro Act but at this time, it is currently unclear which BLM Herd Management Area the Sheldon horses may have ended up in.

The Service also stated that this is the first recorded incident of this possible migratory pattern, which leave us all wondering -

Just what it is they “monitor” when they report on Refuge conditions?

Jackson Mountain Wild Horses
A little over 700 more wild horses were recently removed than was originally projected in the BLM managed Jackson Mountain HMA, bringing the grand total of removals to 990 wild horses. BLMs Preliminary EA estimated only about 250 Jackson Mountain wild horses would need to be removed but a new aerial census conducted in June of 2007 revealed the population was much, much higher than previously believed.

BLM attributes the unexpectedly high population levels to wild horses that were driven outside the Jackson Mountain HMA during the February 2003 removals. It is believed that once the removal operations were complete, the wild horses again resumed residence within the HMA boundaries.

Kind of makes you wonder how far “outside” the HMA boundaries outside really was?

Photo of Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge Wild Horses taken from May 2007 Environmental Assessment and credited to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Trashed Again

The Coyote Canyon wild horses, the last remaining herd in Southern California, were abruptly removed in 2003. Their federally protected habitat encompassed 23,260 acres (1) that was transferred from BLM to the California State Park systems and all previously guaranteed legal reservations were withdrawn; the horses were left to the mercy of the State and what mercy California has showed.

Hiring a group of UC Davis veterinarians whose paychecks are dependent on government funding, they lined up to testified to the poor conditions and inevitability of starvation of the centuries old wild horse herd, citing that to continue to allow these wild horses in the area would be “inhumane”. (2)

Yet while the wild horses were being captured, the cameras captured the truth and the wild horses of Coyote Canyon were gleaming, fat and healthy as they were loaded into the trucks for their final journey.

The National Historic Registry (NHR) recently denied a nomination for the Coyote Canyon wild horses to be officially listed as a cultural and historic value in the area despite testimony from a variety of experts that supported the nomination, including Dr. Thomas King, considered one of the leading authorities on the subject both in America and abroad, and has written much of the NHR policies that are in place today. (3)

Mark Jorgenson, Superintendent of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, was quoted in an article by Deanne Stillman and published by the LA Times Weekly as saying; “We wanted to get rid of them since the ‘70s.” (4)

Mr. Jorgenson was present at the NHR hearing with a battery of well-rehearsed sidekicks that successfully opposed the Coyote Canyon Wild Horses nomination through more official testimony.

The “expert” testimony that the Coyote Canyon wild horses were threatening the Endangered Peninsular bighorn population turned out to be false when DNA testing revealed that the bighorn were just plain old Nelsons; of course, this testing was only completed after all the horses were removed. (5)

The “expert” testimony that claimed the Coyote Canyon wild horses were merely leftovers from a rancher in the mid-nineteenth century also turned out to be false after genetic tests showed strong Spanish Mustang ancestry in the Coyote Canyon wild horses, a lineage that is now extinct in Spain itself. (6)

At the February 2007 National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, Don Glen, BLM Wild Horse and Burro Division Chief gave a brief history of the Coyote Canyon issues and advised the Board that “this is a State of California issue and beyond the scope of the BLM jurisdiction and the Advisory Board’s responsibilities.” (7)

This is the Advisory Board that is in charge of overseeing wild horse and burro preservation across the Nation due to laws and federal protection granted to our wild horses and burro that firmly established their historical and cultural significance to the American people.

It is not the Boards “responsibility” to investigate or support the preservation of the last remaining wild horse herd in Southern California based on their historical and cultural significance or their documented lineage of the now rare Spanish mustang.

Taxpayer funded, BLM appointed positions only, these are the experts and advisors that rubberstamp the hidden agenda of “managing ” wild horses and burros into extinction.


(1) BLM National Herd Statistics, Fiscal Year 2004 available at
(2) UC Davis Veterinarian Reports available at:
(3) State Historical Resource Commission Meeting, Department of Parks and Recreation
Approved Minutes – May 3, 2007 Available at:
Kellys Weblog and Favorite Websites: The Wild Horses of Coyote Canyon that Once
Were….(February 22, 2006) LA Weekly, February 01, 2006, Of Rocks, Creeks and
Broom-Tail Horses, Deanne Stillman ©
(5) Personal Email Communication, February 7, 2007
Mark Jorgensen, Superintendent of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park,
Kellys Weblog and Favorite Websites: The Wild Horses of Coyote Canyon that Once
Were….(February 22, 2006) LA Weekly, February 01, 2006, Of Rocks, Creeks and
Broom-Tail Horses, Deanne Stillman ©
(7) National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board Meeting Minutes, February 26, 2007
Washington, D.C. Available at:

Photo taken from Kellys Weblog and Favorite Websites: The Wild Horses of Coyote Canyon that Once Were….(February 22, 2006) Not included in original article published in LA Weekly, February 01, 2006, Of Rocks, Creeks and Broom-Tail Horses, Deanne Stillman ©

Friday, September 21, 2007

Ode To The Taken

“…..these horses and burros are fast disappearing from the American scene. It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected…” Public Law 92-195

Kathleen Hayden of Coyote Canyon Caballos D'Anza recently announced the arrival of “Harley”, an adopted Clark Mountain burro whose entire herd was zeroed out in January 2007.

Located in Southern California, the Clark Mountain burros had been one of oldest and genetically rare burro herds left. Since 1980, only two herds officially remain and Southern California has seen a 90% reduction in wild burro populations and habitat despite their “federally protected status”. (1)

Harley will now live with the Coyote Canyon wild horses Kathleen also adopted in efforts to preserve the bloodlines of these historic herds.

Like the Clark Mountain burros and dozens of herds over the last few decades, the Coyote Canyon wild horses were zeroed out in 2003 and were Southern California’s last remaining wild horse herd. Numbering a mere 29 wild horses when they were taken, highly questionable "Emergency" conditions and authority were used to justify this final blow.

The desire to protect big horn sheep was cited as a significant factor in the decision to permanently eliminate both these herds.

The Haydens continue to lobby for the return of the Coyote Canyon wild horses based on their cultural and historical significance, their contributions to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and their enrichment to the lives of the American people.

This was inspired by Kathleen’s photo of Harley meeting his new Coyote Canyon friends for the first time-

Ode to the Taken

Still soft and slightly dreamy from arising
unprepared for cold truths and hard facts
the end rides in on a Harley
as the memories of four centuries
are washed away,
their last gush, only tears
left on barren ground

Empty silence tells no tale
of generations that brayed and neighed
thundering hooves, flying manes
and large, soft ears
that heard all of
Mothers desert secrets

Gentle creatures,
smashed by horns that curl
and blackened hearts,
eagerly trading
the flesh and blood
of grandfathers and sons
mothers and aunts
for hollow sentiments painted on
now dead trees
"In God We Trust"

Consciousness shatters
with a lightening bolt,
last witness
to the last of their kind
with heart of lead, still weeping
the children’s questions can only
be answered with,

"I'm sorry....they are gone"

For more information, donations or to help with reintroduction efforts for the Coyote Canyon Wild Horses contact:

Tax ID #510553809
Robert Hayden, Director/Manager
Kathleen Hayden
P.O. Box 236,
Santa Ysabel,CA92070
Phone: (760)782-3340

Ode To The Taken - Cindy MacDonald, August 2007
Used with Permission - All Rights Reserved.

(1) Wild Burros of the American West – A Critical Analysis of the Status of Wild Burros on Public Lands – 2006, C.R.MacDonald, 2007. Available on line at American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign,

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Going, Going, Gone

- The Clark Mountain Wild Burros -

The Clark Mountain burros were one of the oldest and most unique wild burro herds in America. Living in relative isolation for four centuries, their genetic tests revealed the herd had a “high proportion of rare variants”. (1) Yet in January 2007, BLM issued the final orders for their permanent and irrevocable extermination.

The Clark Mountain Herd Area is located in Mojave Desert in Southern California near the Nevada border.

In 1994, with the passage of the California Desert Protection Act (CDPA), the burros only perennial water source was transferred to National Park Service (NPS) through the creation of the Mojave National Preserve. NPS then issued a General Management Plan declaring a zero burro management policy for the Clark Mountain wild burros. (2)

This transference of key habitat requirements such as water, access or land to other federal agencies not required to protect wild horses and burros is often found at the root of many herds being zeroed out and this trend has been accelerating.

At the time of passage of the California Desert Conservation Area Plan in 1980, there were 19 recognized Herd Management Areas that could be managed for burros and 14 were officially designated for that purpose within the Conservation Area alone. The combined allowable population levels totaled 2,747 wild burros and their available habitat was 3,500,465 million acres. (3)

Today, this same area has had over a 90% reduction in both habitat and population with only two remaining burro herds and an “appropriate management level” of merely 229 burros confined to less than three hundred thousand acres. (4)

Though California was once home to one of the largest wild burro populations in the country, BLM only allows a paltry 345 burros or less throughout the entire state today. (5)

The Clark Mountain burros historic Herd Area was originally designated as 233,370 acres. Through BLM land use decisions and HMA designation, only 75,349 acres were deemed suitable for long-term management, a loss of 158,021 acres of habitat. (6)

Then BLM approved a provision that was slipped in the final plan of the 2002 NEMO Amendment to the CDCA that eliminated this last amount of acreage from any further use and this strategy effectively denied the public any right to appeal the decision. Two livestock allotments continue to operate in the area. (7)

In the last environmental assessment issued by the BLM Needles Resource Office that approved of capture plans to zero the Clark Mountain burros out, BLM personnel stated that;

Cumulative reductions in habitat available for burros and subsequent reductions in burro populations, resulting in reduced representation of this species has likely compromised their gene pool. The ability for populations to maintain genetically viable herds, with representation of their unique genetic characteristics would be lost”. (8)

Despite being one of the oldest, rarest and last herds left in Southern California, BLM admitted to both managing and rendering this historical population extinct.

Public outcry was significant regarding the final eradication of the Clark Mountain burros but pleas to high-ranking officials, including the Secretary of the Interior, fell on deaf ears and were systematically ignored.

Volunteers offered to supply all labor and materials to pipe water from the spring to BLM managed land in efforts to preserve the herd but despite this “reasonable alternative”, in January 2007, the BLM removed approximately 100 Clark Mountain burros and the removal of the last remaining 30 wild burros is authorized through 2012.

Photo of Clark Mountain Burro downloaded on 8/31/07 from BLMs Website Internet Adoptions, Ridgecrest Facility
(1) Genetic Analysis of the Chocolate-Mule Mtn., Clark Mtn., Centennial and Slate Range feral burro herds, E. Gus Cothran, Department of Veterinary Science, University of Kentucky, Lexigton, KY 40546-0076, January 24, 2003. Received by BLM February 14, 2003.
(2) Clark Mountain Herd Management Area/Herd Area, Decision Record and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Clark Mountain Herd Areas Burro Removal, Fiscal Years 2007-2012, CA-690-EA04-27. Pg. 12, Department of the Interior, CA Needles Field Office, January 2007.
(3), (4), (5) Wild Burros of the American West, C.R.Mac Donald, February 2007, Pg. 6. Available on line at , Learn More-A Study In Mismanagement, Case Study #1
(6), (7), (8) Clark Mountain Herd Management Area/Herd Area, Decision Record and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Clark Mountain Herd Areas Burro Removal, Fiscal Years 2007-2012, CA-690-EA04-27. Department of the Interior, CA Needles Field Office, January 2007.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Last Chance

For the former Virginia Range horses who have made their home on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation since 2001.

The tribe gave International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB)
a 30-day notice that the horses must go and ISPMB has been frantically trying to find homes, space and money to prevent the 300 horses from being sold at auction where they risk a slaughterhouse fate.

With less than a week left, ISPMB has not been able to coordinate efforts to save them and has sent out another desperate cry for help.

Please do whatever you can to help ISPMB save these horses at

This is their last chance……

Thursday, September 13, 2007

It's A Beautiful Day In The Kudrna

It’s Kudrna Nevada LLC specifically; who in late 2005 purchased the 338,000-acre Soldier Meadows Ranch that neighbors the Sheldon Hart National Wildlife Refuge and impacts three BLM Wild Horse & Burro Herd Management Areas- Black Rock Range West, Warm Springs Canyon and Calico Mountains HMAs.

Reportedly, the new owner is a very wealthy developer out of Reno, NV that has urged the BLM to modify the current grazing system. The BLM Winnemucca crew (see last post) has been happy to oblige by proposing a new system that allows 800 cattle to roam year round gradually increasing the forage (AUMs) for livestock by approximately 33% versus the old system that fluctuated between 344 and 1,188 cattle depending on the time of year.

Again, BLM outlines guaranteed forage for livestock and big game animals but no mention is made of food (AUMs) for the wild horses in the area. BLM acknowledges the new system will significantly increase competition for food and water with the wild horses and burros, especially during drought or harsh winters, as they will have to survive on what the wake of cattle leave behind. The only question that remains is, which “Emergency Gather” reason BLM will use later to preserve the thriving ecological balance? The always handy “Save Them from Starvation” or the ever popular “Drought-Lack of Water”......

If that wasn’t enough, in order for the new system to work, another fence must be installed near Idaho Canyon, which is already surrounded on three sides - the new one will box it in completely. As a result, wild horses may become trapped during the winter, possibly causing them to freeze or starve to death.

No worries though, BLM has a PLAN! The protection of these horses depends on BLM making sure the gate is opened before it is too late (these are the same people that came up with this idea) or the new owner, Kudrna, can do it too.

In case anyone wants to know how Kudrna feels about wild horses, they kindly posted it on their website, History Section, under the title, Help Needed, which is a request to write Congress and Legislators to remove wild horses from the area and contains such choice statements as-

*Thousands of feral horses have been breeding unchecked for years…
*Severe damage to springs is the direct results of these thousands of feral horses….
*They are non-native and akin to unwanted dogs, cats and other pets’...
*Unwanted animals are kindly put down.

Fortunately, the area won’t ever be horse free because Kudrna plans on raising domestic horses and the Soldier Meadows Guest Ranch includes four wheeling, SUVs and OHV use anywhere with special emphasis on hunting the “wildlife” the wild horses and burros threaten.

Meanwhile, back at neighbor Sheldon.....

Yesterday, the United States Fish & Wildlife released their new Draft EA for Horse and Burro Management at the Refuge, thanks to the lawsuit filed by In Defense of Animals (IDA) who had the courage to speak “truth to power” by insisting USFWS follow the laws. The Draft EA can be accessed at
and public input must be provided by September 26, 2007.

For a graphic expose on last year’s disastrous wild horse “management” at Sheldon, please visit American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, Learn More, Reality of Round Ups, Sheldon-2006-Attempt at a Cover Up at

So let’s all go see what neighbor Sheldon is planning now…….

The photo used is of one of the "thousands of unmanaged, unchecked feral horses" removed by BLM in December 2004 from the Calico Herd Management Area in Nevada.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


This is not some new age Buddist chant. AUM stands for Animal Unit Month and is one of the most critical tools used by BLM in rangeland management. An Animal Unit Month (AUM) is the amount of forage one cow, one horse or five sheep will consume during the course of a month. Here are some things to know about AUMs:

Not All AUMs Are Created Equal
The amount of acreage required to create one AUM greatly depends on the area. If the area is lush, it doesn’t take many acres to provide enough food to sustain a cow, horse or five sheep for a month. However, in more arid regions it may take up to 30 acres or more to provide the forage necessary to sustain the same animals.

BLM managers take a section of public land and determine how much forage that environment can produce – this is the pie. Then they carve up the pie by giving some to wildlife, some to livestock, some to wild horses and burros and leave some alone in order to support healthy ecosystems.

The old standard for issuing forage allocations used to be 50% for all rangeland users and 50% was left untouched. New studies have determined that allocating only 35-40% is “In” for healthy rangelands.

When BLM removes wild horses and burros, it is because they are now consuming more pie (AUMs) than what BLM gave them when they were cutting up it up in the “planning process”. Usually BLM issues most of the pie to livestock and often gives only a sliver of AUMs to wild horse and burro herds. This causes them to always be called “excessive”.

Jackson Mountain Herd Management Area (HMA)
The photo used is a wild horse removed in January 2003 from the Jackson Mountain HMA located in Northern Nevada with the BLM removing more this August. The Jackson Mountains HMA spans 283,699 acres with an allowable management level not to exceed 217 wild horses or one horse per 1,307 acres.

Currently, the BLM is in the process of “carving pie” for the Happy Creek Livestock Grazing Allotment, part of the Jackson Mountain HMA. The old plan gave 3,724 AUMs to livestock and 720 AUMs to the Jackson Mountain wild horses. The new plan still gives 3,724 AUMs to livestock, includes a piece for each big game species but now provides no AUMs for the Jackson Mountain wild horses.

BLM is also proposing a new fence that is projected to cause “serious and irreparable impacts to the Jackson Mountain wild horses and their habitat” including entanglement, injury and/or death, lack of access to areas they historically grazed and loss of genetic viability by cutting them off from the rest of the HMA and any other wild horses.

Preserve the Herds by September 15, 2007
If you would like to help wild horses stay wild, drop BLM a line before September 15th and ask that the Happy Creek Grazing Allotment include AUMs (food) for wild horses too, not just livestock and big game. Also, since BLM knows the fence will be dangerous, ask them to find another solution that helps everyone, not just the few, and take pride in your participation to Preserve the Herds.

Heidi Hopkins, BLM Wild Horse & Burro Specialist, at
Or fax it to: (775) 623-1503
BLM Winnemucca Field Office
5100 East Winnemucca Blvd.
Winnemucca, NV 89445
Phone (775) 623-1500

If you do contact them, remember your personal info and comments become part of public record and may be accessed as part of the public information process.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Natural Horse

Here are some excerpts from a recent article published by the Natural Horse Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 5, authored by Wildlife Ecologist, Craig C. Downer.

Mr. Downer is a long time wild horse advocate and has spent years extensively observing and fending for the wild horses and other grazing animals in their natural habitat.

He has had several articles published as well, “Wild Horses: Living Symbols of Freedom”, whose Forward was personally written by Velma B. Johnson, (Wild Horse Annie) and his most recent work includes a 341 page, photo illustrated book of poems entitled, "Streams of the Soul" that devotes a section to wild horses in their wild state.

Mr. Downer received his A.B. in Biology in 1972 at the University of California at Berkeley and his M.S. in Biology in 1976 at the University of Nevada in Reno. He has extensively traveled Europe, the Middle East, India and Nepal as well as in the United States, Mexico and Canada. He has worked as a wildlife biologist in the Cauca Valley in Colombia, South America and is currently working to save the Endangered Mountain Tapir through the Andean Tapir Fund, which include efforts to establish a Reserve in Northern Peru.

Theses excerpts are from a speech Mr. Downer gave along with a slide presentation on June 14th, 2007 at the Carson Valley Museum and Historical Center in Gardnerville, NV, as part of the inauguration of the Mustang Exhibit he also helped prepare.

The Past, Present, and Future Status of Wild Horses:
An Indispensable Challenge of Our Times

Why has there been such a huge reduction in the wild equid herds? Grasping the history of “civilization”, the answer should not be surprising, but it should be disgusting! Humanity has spread its exploitation of Earth’s natural ecosystems in a very thoughtless and insensitive way and even such magnificent animals as the horses and burros who have long served man have not been exempt from his vicious and ungrateful treatment. Among the primary culprits in wild equid elimination has been the plundering mentality of the livestock culture, which has devastated millions of square miles throughout the world; and any species that has stood in its way has been violently combated and destroyed. But by no means is the livestock culture the lone enemy of wild equids. The hunting establishment has also targeted them, since they are not a game species. They do so in spite of the fact that wild equids ecologically complement rather than compete with deer, antelope, bighorn, and many other species, when man allows their ecosystem enough space and freedom to naturally adapt, interrelate, stabilize and evolve.

The huge reduction of the wild equids to their present level of a little over 20,000 nationwide is especially due to the power establishment’s having targeted these noble and ecologically fitting animals for practical elimination. The politicos, including those in academic circles, have outrageously lied about these species, concocting negative propaganda and using them as scapegoats for ecological problems that people – not horses and burros – are responsible for.
This is what makes the current attitudes toward and treatment of the naturally living horses and burros so utterly reprehensible and requiring of our immediate attention.

While the arrogant and ruthless livestock culture rapes the natural ecosystem to feed an unwholesome appetite for meat and other animal products, and leaves desertification in its ever expanding wake, the returned native wild horses restore the North American ecosystem, seeding its native plants and building the vital humus component of its soils, acting as a natural prey species for native predators such as puma and wolf, and in countless other ways enhancing the biodiverse life community.

Yet this regretful situation must not be taken as an excuse to give up. Far from it! We champions of the wild equids, as our exemplars: the wild equids themselves, must be like beacons of light in a dark and storm-tossed sea, showing forth the way to lost ships groping hither and yon. The Wild Horse Act still remains intact! The legal herd areas still are legal herd areas, even if largely empty or populated only by token, non-viable populations. These populations can recover! A caring America can restore their rights in the ecosystems where they are an ancient yet ever self-renewing and evolving part. Think about it: their future is our future, for when we abandon their cause, their freedom, their land, we also abandon a very special and essential element in our very own. For to this degree are the lives and destinies of horses, burros and their kindred linked to those of man. Their true home is a free home, not that of some mere prisoner or slave in a world made prison both by, and ultimately of, man himself!

To view Mr. Downers article in its entirety, go to -
"Streams of the Soul" is available at-
To Preserve The Endangered Mountain Tapir, go to-
Photo 6. Head mare of a band and mother of colt above.
All Rights Reserved - Courtesy of Mr. Downer

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Where Have All The Geldings Gone?

A letter to the editor published in the Washington Times by Valerie James Patton of Shingletown, California has exposed the stunning possibility that the Bureau of Land Management may be shipping our wild horses into Mexico under a “non-slaughter” listing. What happens to these geldings once they cross the border is certainly one of the big questions that deserves an investigation.

According to Ms. Patton’s letter, over 2,000 geldings have been sent through one particular slaughter port from New Mexico to Mexico this year alone. According to the report, this year’s number of geldings is twice as high as it was for the same time last year.

The geldings are the exclusive class of animal being shipped through this port under a “non-slaughter” listing, begging the questions-

-Why only geldings?
-Where are all the geldings coming from?
-What is Mexico doing with only geldings and no other class of horse?

They can’t possibly be for breeding purposes and once they cross the border, there is no legal limitations that prevent them being greeted by a slaughterhouse fate. Geldings are also worth more by “the pound”.

So what is going on?

Anyone remotely familiar with how BLM conducts wild horse removals knows that almost all wild stallions are gelded when they are removed from the range. Considering BLM has removed over 70,000 wild horses and burros between October, 2001 and March, 2007, logic would suggest the geldings being supplied to Mexico may be coming straight from our own wild American Herds.

At the very least, it should be investigated as to the where this many geldings are coming from and why Mexico needs over 2,000 “non-slaughter” geldings.

Another consideration is, according to BLM, as of July 30, 2007, over 2,500 wild horses and burros have been sold under the “Sale Authority” clause granted to BLM by Senator Burns, supposedly as a “stealth rider” that Congress has yet to repeal. This is an amazingly similar number to the geldings shipped for “non-slaughter” purposes through the New Mexico port to Mexico.

New Mexico was also home to the Grand Jury Investigation that was slammed shut without further review or any Congressional investigation regarding BLMs alleged black book activities and black market affairs that involved the selling wild horses and burro for slaughter in the mid-nineties. Today, there is no legal consequence to BLM even if they did sell them for slaughter, thanks to Congressional failure to amend the situation.

Wouldn’t it be nice if someone actually investigated this to see where those geldings are coming from and what is being done with them or will the geldings just keep rolling through the port “no questions asked”?

The photo used was taken from a BLM Internet Adoption Site at the Ewing, Illinois facility in April 2007. Nine different “foals” showed up for adoption, all shipped from New Mexico, all “born” in New Mexico holding facilities and all dated November of 2006 - long past foaling season!

To access this information-
Ms. Pattons letter posted in the Washington Times-
The Year to Date Totals of Geldings Shipped Through the New Mexico Port-
For BLM Current Wild Horse and Burro Sales-

Sunday, September 2, 2007

What Happens in Nellis, Stays in Nellis-

Speaking of poisoning water to kill wild horses, the Nevada Wild Horse Range has been getting a lot of attention lately for the recent deaths of 71 wild horses. Officials believe their deaths were the results of nitrate contaminated water and their deaths have sparked Senator Reid to call for an investigation into the matter.

The Nevada Wild Horse Range was established in 1962 as Nevada’s first and only wild horse sanctuary and most of it falls within the Nellis Air Force Base.

The Bureau of Land Management inherited the Range after the passage of the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act and has been managing it ever since.

The BLM defines a “Range” as a herd that provides “unique viewing opportunities” for the public but even BLM can’t often access the wild horses that roam there, much less the general public, due to strict security issues from military operations.

The Nellis horses have always been surrounded by stories of questionable ethics due to the highly restricted nature of their Range. As has already been reported, this was not the first time wild horses have ended up dead in this location and the story about the betting pool of who can shoot the most in horses in the least amount of time has be circulating for quite awhile.

One speculation is that Nellis wild horses can easily disappear to slaughterhouses in order to raise some extra cash by those enterprising individuals that can access them. Besides the obvious reasons of this being inappropriate for an animal protected by State and Federal law, there is also the issue that “horse meat” is not subject to inspections like other meat products. The Nellis horses, having spent a lifetime on a military range, may be shipped to European markets with deadly levels of contaminants in their systems with no safeguards or testing.

While the poisoned water is getting all the attention, the fact that 178 wild horses were driven for miles during one of the deadliest heat waves in Nevada’s history has received no attention at all. Residents were urged to stay indoors, hospitals received a slew of heat-related check-ins, and pet cautions topped the lists of headline on the local news. Yet BLM forced this grueling gauntlet on the wild horses in order to “save them”.

What makes this especially egregious is BLM had been hauling water to the wild horses for two weeks prior to their removals in order to “prevent them from expiring” due to lack of water in the area.

So if they were already drinking from the troughs, why didn't they bait-trap them instead of risking their lives and paying the contractor tens of thousands of our tax dollars to do it?Wouldn’t that seem both more humane AND cost-effective?

In addition to no public witnesses to what really happened during this questionable capture plan, the photo for this article was recently taken from the BLM Internet Adoption site and the capture date is listed as 9/30/06, the very last day of BLMs fiscal year.

Why this matters is, any horses removed from Nellis will not be reported until sometime in December 2007, well over a year after it happened and to the best of my knowledge, no paperwork was ever done that authorized or reported their removals.

Just one more example of how the Nellis wild horses keep falling through the cracks and how Las Vegas’s famous motto stretches even here…….